The tradition of wearing all-whites originated in 15th century France where Jeu de Paume, a sport similar to tennis, was played. King Henry VIII enjoyed the game so much that he commissioned tennis courts on the grounds of one of his palaces. Players began wearing all-white because it keeps you cooler in the hot sun but also concealed sweat stains, something that was seen as unseemly and low-class. The upper-class players did not have to worry about dirt as they could afford to keep their whites clean, as opposed to those with manual labor jobs.
By the 1800s, Tennis had spread throughout England and the rest of Europe. Tennis was a sport associated with money and privilege, and among the advantages of wearing white in the sun, dressing in all-white was a way for the noble to flaunt their prestige and wealth. Wearing all-white was not something that people working on coal mines or sweeping-up would ever be able to do; in many cases it signified the luxury of not having to work at all, and therefore quickly became an emblem of sport for the elite, and something the middle classes aspired to.
In 1890, the elite's affection for all-white tennis dress was made into an official rule across many clubs; Wimbledon mandated that all players were to wear white when playing on their courts. Being the last of the private tennis clubs that still hosts a grand slam tournament, Wimbledon still holds steadfast to this tradition.
While tennis is no longer a sport reserved only for the wealthy and elite, the tradition of wearing all-white is still alive and well today. Several tennis and athletic clubs, especially historic clubs on the east coast of the US and in Europe, still adhere to this tradition and require members to wear all-whites when on court. There are also still practical reasons why wearing all-white makes sense in the heat of summer – of course, it still reflects light and keeps you cooler on court. But it’s the rich tradition and history that keeps this custom alive and well in modern-day tennis.
Wearing all-whites is a way to show respect not only for your opponent but also for history. We wanted to create products that not online adhere to club rules but also keep up with modern technology in material and fit. Many brands do not make clothes for our littlest children, who need to follow club rules as well. This is why we start our lines for toddlers at 3XS, also know as 2T! Just be careful to keep clean while your littles are enjoying some court-side treats!